Every beginning is difficult: GAMSAT as a way to study medicine

Once a year, at the beginning of July, the future of thousands of youngsters who dream of studying medicine is decided. In 2019, for example, 15,880 people applied for one of the 1,680 study places that are available each year in the United Kingdom. But be careful: 75 percent of all medical study places are reserved for international applicants. From this year, participants from the EU must be among the best 25% EU applicants and non-EU applicants and at the same time be better than the best who were not admitted to the Austrian quota. Therefore, from now on, there are more places for Europeans, but also more competitors overall, especially after the pandemic.

In order to actually get closer to the desired study place step by step, you have to overcome the following hurdles:

1. Online registration

The online portal opens up for the medical entrance test (GAMSAT) at the Medical Universities registration. Anyone who decides on a test location determines their place of study and the center of their life for the next few years. Regardless of the number of applicants, it is advisable to choose the place of study according to your own interests in order to find happiness in everyday life away from the lecture halls, libraries and hospital departments. In addition, you have to decide at this point whether you want to study dentistry or human medicine.

2. Transfer of the cost contribution

If the pre-registration worked, you must not forget to transfer the fee in the same period in order to actually complete the online registration successfully. If you do not pay on time, you cannot take the test and have to wait a year!

Incidentally, the hosting universities collect this contribution in order to minimize the number of random registrations and thus improve planning. On the other hand, it covers the considerable administrative costs of the test, such as renting examination rooms, tables and chairs or printing out all test documents.

3. Preparing for the test: learn, practice, learn, practice!

If you are serious about studying medicine, and therefore, want to pass the GAMSAT, you should consult the professional Medicine Interview Tutor hereand train your necessary cognitive skills and prepare yourself. There are also apps that you can practice with. For example, theTMS trainer (for iOS and Android).

Basic knowledge test for medical degree programs

Here, concrete knowledge in the basic subjects of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics relevant for medical studies is queried.

Text comprehension

This part of the test examines reading skills and the understanding of scientific texts.

Cognitive abilities and skills

5 task groups cover those cognitive abilities and skills which, according to scientific knowledge, should be particularly beneficial for a successful completion of the diploma course in human medicine. In fact, since the introduction of the medical entrance test, almost all new students have completed their medical studies. The following skills are tested in detail:

  • Spatial imagination: putting figures together
  • Memory & memorization: memorizing and temporally separated reproduction of meaningless, abstract content from “allergy ID cards “
  • Recognizing and continuing numerical sequences
  • Verbal fluency: deciphering a salad of letters
  • Recognizing implications (drawing logical conclusions)

4. Social-emotional competencies

This sub-test, which is sometimes very controversial, consists of two task groups that are intended to measure social-emotional competencies:

  • Recognizing Emotions (RE) tests the ability to empathize. The test participants must use descriptions to recognize and assess the emotional situation of fictional people in certain situations.
  • Social decision-making (SDM) measures the ability to socially assess decisions in everyday situations and rank them accordingly.

Depending on preparation, intelligence and coolness, all participants end up with an individual total value that represents the percentage of points achieved in relation to the maximum number of points that can be achieved in the entire GAMSAT. The test participants are ranked on the basis of this value and receive a study place or not, depending on the situation.


5. The day of the decision!

Officially, the test starts at 8 a.m. No aids are allowed, only analog clocks and refreshing meals are allowed to be taken by the participant. Writing materials will be provided. Since metal detectors and body scans are used to meticulously check for prohibited items at the entrance, the actual start of the test has always been significantly delayed in recent years. The test lasts a few hours (including a break around noon) until late in the afternoon.

6. Announcement of results and enrollment

After a few weeks of relief and at the same time enormous nervousness, the results will be announced at the beginning of August, and in a very complicated way: the participants will receive an e-mail access key to an online mask in which they have to look for their registration number in a list. Next to it is finally – quite informally – “YES” or “No”, which ultimately refers to the receipt of the desired study place.

All those who were able to prevail against over 90 percent of their fellow campaigners now only have to enroll in order to officially accept their medical degree. If you fail to do this, you lose your place at the university and someone else moves up in the rankings.

I wish you all the best!


Disclaimer: For all those who really and carefully want to study medicine and prepare accordingly, the GAMSAT is in any case a hurdle to be overcome. Ultimately, the entrance test is only the first step in a demanding, learning-intensive, but also infinitely exciting course of study that has many ups and downs in store. In the end, there is a dream job that is definitely worth fighting for.


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